Posts Tagged 'FT'

Nike – deflating?

I read a recent FT piece about the challenges at Nike. 

Fall Apart by Rolf F.

They’ve done a brilliant job of taking margin by creating a brand business that adds margin on top of a range of fairly cheap goods. But, in the world of value, people are recognising that they can get alternatives for much cheaper. 

Where does Nike go to cut cost? They really have a lean organisation – and their sourcing is from the cheapest factories around (not so cheap if the currencies play rollercoaster?)

Click through on the FT Lex piece here – sorry, I think it requires a subscription. I think you get the point, though… surprising things happen if you are leveraging a brand veneer on top of a vanilla product, when the punters start wanting cheaper vanilla.

Hearst launches e-reader to vie with Kindle

We’re told that Kindle has taken off in the US – but I’ve got nothing to judge that.

It’s interesting to see the publisher of Cosmopolitan and Esquire is having a crack at developing a large format e-reader – presumably sufficiently sized to display a spread of a glossy mag.

The story is posted – click here…

Hearst’s head of interactive Kenneth Bronfin led an investment by Hearst more than a decade ago in E Ink, a Cambridge, Mass.-based startup spun out of research at MIT, that supplies the electronic-ink technology used in the vast majority of e-readers on the market today, including Amazon’s (AMZNFortune 500) Kindle, devices from Sony (SNY), and a crop of next-generation products set to launch in the next 12 to 18 months

This pick-up thanks to the FT’s techblog (here) that I picked up on a tweet from THIS twitter feed. Interesting other stat on the blog is that Facebook’s Zuckerman says they are still gaining 5 million users per month, including 1 million in the US!  NBC interview – and blog commentary here.

Blimey, I’m all wired up.

Call to arms – from Luke Johnson

Luke Johnson writes extremely well about the emotions of business, the entrepreneur’s mindset and the value of capitalism to society.

Check out his latest piece in today’s FT. 

Click here.

I like the sound of: ‘Next year, the British government will be rushed in an electoral landslide of epic proportions, partly because it absolutely does not understand how entrepreneurs think or what they do’.

Not sure the opposition really have their act together yet to give Gordon a good bloody nose.

Find Luke here:

Luke Johnson Logo

UK House prices – signal on recession graph rollercoaster?

10 Photography (aka Coroner)

The furore over banker bonuses doesn’t take one thing into account. UK house prices have been propped up by banker’s spending. The London market was super-charged by the bonus season as bankers cleared funds in the winter ready for a spring flutter on a 5-bedder in Islington or something a bit fancy in Epping Forest.

The shape of the recession graph may mirror house prices. If so, are we at the bottom yet? With sterling 30% off and property down 30% too, foreigners (with foreign currency) now have financial muscle that almost doubles their purchasing power. Get in, boys…

The FT reports that derivatives based on the Halifax index are pricing a further 32 per cent fall in property values – a 46.7 per cent peak-to-trough over the next two years.

What shape the recession graph? It’s still a nasty downward rollercoaster. So, while I’ve been calling an “L”… it looks like we are still on the down line if you’ve not already gone splat on the flat.

The next big thing after trust… timing

We seem to be at the point of maximum fear. We have casualties aplenty. We have finger pointing. We have governments breaking ranks with each other. We have freakish optimism from vultures, which says that things aren’t hurting enough… when it feels like they are hurting like they never hurt before.

We have tremors, then major aftershocks.

And we have Anthony Bolton, President of Fidelity Fund Managers, saying in the FT Money section (things are so bad that people are reading the Money sections – see below!), that he’s not been more optimistic in years. See ‘We’ve seen the bottom of the abyss‘.

We might be riding through mental hell, but there seems to be a sense that we are getting settled with the uncertainty, that there can’t possibly be any more uncertainty, that 2009 is already written off, that the Bank of England, Feds and Governments are in the process of taking extraordinary, bedazzling steps. But, at least, action is underway.

So, it’s right to call the bottom. And, while the whole system seems to be creaking. The statistics of BIG start to look very attractive. Because you can start small, start low, start from the minus-zone. And, any move in the positive direction will register big percentage hikes up.

You start when the tide has gone out, the waves have sucked out all the water… and a sense that there must be some swishing, gushing jet to ride back up the beach of capitalism. So, timing is key to the Next Big Thing.

There are many articles about winners and losers. I’m mentally preparing for pain a-plenty all round, because it only seems fair that the pain is widespread. But, as with other water analogies… Archimedes Principle holds true: displacement. If people aren’t using cars, they are getting their bike repaired. If they aren’t buying Champagne, they will still treat themselves to Cava. Look on the bright side. Turnip sales are up 75% at Tesco!

And, as Bolton points out, there are sectors that are oversold. He points to Media and Marketing Services. To Reed Elsevier. Buy buy buy… into the world of B2B communities…

So… to my earlier point…

In times of massive uncertainty, people devour news. And, Barry Diller has tried to show impeccable timing with the launch of The Daily Beast, headed by editorial doyen (or is that dinosaur?) Tina Brown, who described the internet as Terra Incognita before she was hired to Da Beast. She looks to me to be trying to do ‘The Week’ online before Felix Dennis has got there. (Only, I love The Week because it’s print!!!)

As earlier on Opencast, I say that Barry Diller has spotted that the web is turning into TV channels… and he’s packaging up demographics… so The Daily Beast is staking out an audience space in the Baby Boomer age group (my mum, I think that means… particularly if they have elderly Andrew Neil blogging!). I’m not betting against it, but it all looks a bit pre-RSS and post-Huffington Post if you ask me…

Timing… yes, timing…


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